About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Global is very local: A reminder

This past Saturday I met two former students, both by coincidence and within minutes of each other. One teaches in an inner-city Hamilton school - in a community that is considered the most impoverished in Canada. The other teaches 30 minutes from this community in the Six Nations of the Grand River.

As I talked with each of the two former students, I was reminded of the challenges which we sometimes assume are "out there" in other country contexts but which exist in our own communities. For example, the teacher in inner-city Hamilton talked about some of the impoverishment his students experience: limited meals, threat of removal from apartments, etc.

What caught my attention though was that both of these teachers didn't focus on the challenges they face. In fact, the vast majority of each conversation was focused on the joys of their jobs. The teacher who works on the Six Nations reserve loves her students. I ran into her in a library where she was getting children's books. She is actively engaged in professional development so she can be the best teacher she can be in working with First Nations children.

Yes, as teachers we experience lots of globally-linked challenges. Just like students in countries such as Haiti and India may experience poverty and poor nutrition, students in Canada can face similar daunting challenges. Of course there are support systems in place in Canada which limit the pervasiveness of these challenges, but they still exist. At the same time, caring and committed teachers, whether in Canada, Haiti, or India, can make a world of a difference for children. We may not be able to eliminate poverty, malnutrition, and challenging home situations, but we can strive to demonstrate and teach children what it means to be caring glocal citizens. A good reminder for why I do what I do.